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MCAT advice would be to invest in the AAMC practice package with the 3 FL's (write them closest to test date), Official guide, section banks, question packs, etc. These are the most closely representative of MCAT imo. 

Also, take ~1.5 days to review a full length exam, that is how you improve your scores the most once you are done most of the content review. 

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I agree that AAMC resources are the way to go, although you can always branch out to other companies as well. There's also khanacademy that's free. 

For your GPA, there were rumors that UofA might disregard GPA in upcoming cycles. Not that you should put too much expectation on that. But if you are up for a MSc, that can benefit you at some schools which are more forgiving towards graduate student's GPAs, or who give additional points to graduate applicants. How much of an advantage the degree will give you is unknown, so do only pursue it if you're genuinely interested as it is a commitment. 

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Thanks @Eudaimonia!

True, I used the Kaplan study materials/a few practice exams before using 2 AAMC FLs and a little Khan Academy (<--CARS) last year. I'll look into using more of the AAMC materials though.

I have heard those rumors as well...sounds very odd given that the UofA is so GPA-centric. Sounds too good to expect so I'm going to try improving my GPA regardless.  

I've heard that the additional points are only allocated to thesis-based MSc applicants. That path doesn't involve as many courses, but if the UofC/UofA count my MSc GPA as one year anyways then it could be a boost if I do well on those few courses...? 

 

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3 hours ago, needsomeguidance said:

Thanks @Eudaimonia!

True, I used the Kaplan study materials/a few practice exams before using 2 AAMC FLs and a little Khan Academy (<--CARS) last year. I'll look into using more of the AAMC materials though.

I have heard those rumors as well...sounds very odd given that the UofA is so GPA-centric. Sounds too good to expect so I'm going to try improving my GPA regardless.  

I've heard that the additional points are only allocated to thesis-based MSc applicants. That path doesn't involve as many courses, but if the UofC/UofA count my MSc GPA as one year anyways then it could be a boost if I do well on those few courses...? 

 

I'm not familiar with Alberta schools since UofA calculates your GPA themselves so I never had to do it, but at Dal you can use a year of your Masters to count towards your GPA. Research programs usually have about 3 courses which is very manageable. 

I'm not sure what your cGPA will end up being or what it will be after weighing, but UofT has a lower GPA cutoff for graduate students, that will allow them to review your file for other strengths if you have a weaker GPA. However, it's likely that they still assess the GPA competitively so it will depend on how strong the rest of your application is. MCAT you are fine since you'd be above their cutoffs and it's not competitively assessed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey needsomeguidance,

You should look into doing a second undergrad if you want to do medical school. It is almost impossible to get into any of the medical schools even with only your 3rd year grades. It is true that UofT and other medical schools look at other aspects of your grades but ECs cannot save you unless you already have 3.7 or more. This will obviously not help your chances with all medical schools but for those that apply weighing formulas your chances will drastically improve. 

U of Alberta removing GPA will mean that they will require higher other stats like perfect MCAT or perfect ECs. 

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On 4/1/2018 at 3:01 PM, Distancea said:

Hey needsomeguidance,

You should look into doing a second undergrad if you want to do medical school. It is almost impossible to get into any of the medical schools even with only your 3rd year grades. It is true that UofT and other medical schools look at other aspects of your grades but ECs cannot save you unless you already have 3.7 or more. This will obviously not help your chances with all medical schools but for those that apply weighing formulas your chances will drastically improve. 

U of Alberta removing GPA will mean that they will require higher other stats like perfect MCAT or perfect ECs. 

I agree that my GPA is pretty low atm. I'm hoping that an improved MCAT score might give a bit of a boost before my application next year...I won't be able to apply to med right after 4th year (because I'll be doing my masters) but I'm hoping that improved performance in my 4th year & masters will give a significant boost to my overall GPA. 

What are your thoughts on international med schools? Should I consider something in the US? I've heard about DOs being a bit more lenient, but I don't honestly understand the difference between MD and DO doctors. There's also Australia, which I don't exactly have the money for but would certainly pursue if I had a chance. 

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On 4/3/2018 at 7:56 AM, goleafsgochris said:

I agree with the poster above.  OP has excellent ECs, but I fear he has fallen into the trap of low GPA with good ECs--remember, ECs are useless without a good GPA, and that is what you need to focus on/improve.  

I'm flattered that you find my ECs excellent :D and I agree about my GPA. The disastrous first year was really due to a mix of family issues and struggling to adapt to the university workload :unsure:  had to completely revamp my study and work techniques (took some trial and error to adapt to different profs) when they stopped working out like they did in high school lol. 

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Hello :)

Just thought I'd weigh in. As mentioned, the AAMC practice tests and section banks are definitely the way to go. I also used both the Kaplan and TPR books because I liked the assortment of questions. This did get quite pricey though. 

 

As for your GPA, don't give up on it get. Some schools look just at your last 2 years of undergrad - research these schools in advance and do your best to get higher grades the last 2 years. You could also contemplate a 2nd undergrad, but that can get redundant. Some schools do give bonus points to students with thesis based MSc. I would also make a list of these schools and cross reference them with your first list. Finding out what schools you could eventually be eligible for will make it easy to see what they value and plan accordingly. 

 

Some schools do have sections to fill out reasons why grades may be lower certain years. Being honest can't hurt. 

 

Lastly, you mentioned going overseas. If you want to end up back in canada I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as it's hard for an international medical graduate to get residency spots. Licenses and tests to practice in canada are also quite expensive if you have international qualifications. 

 

My bottom line is dont give up but do be realistic. You can get there but you may just need a bit of extra time to do so. Since the average age of most medical students is mid-20s, that's not the worst thing in the world. Good luck! 

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4 hours ago, AM22476 said:

Hello :)

Just thought I'd weigh in. As mentioned, the AAMC practice tests and section banks are definitely the way to go. I also used both the Kaplan and TPR books because I liked the assortment of questions. This did get quite pricey though. 

 

As for your GPA, don't give up on it get. Some schools look just at your last 2 years of undergrad - research these schools in advance and do your best to get higher grades the last 2 years. You could also contemplate a 2nd undergrad, but that can get redundant. Some schools do give bonus points to students with thesis based MSc. I would also make a list of these schools and cross reference them with your first list. Finding out what schools you could eventually be eligible for will make it easy to see what they value and plan accordingly. 

 

Some schools do have sections to fill out reasons why grades may be lower certain years. Being honest can't hurt. 

 

Lastly, you mentioned going overseas. If you want to end up back in canada I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as it's hard for an international medical graduate to get residency spots. Licenses and tests to practice in canada are also quite expensive if you have international qualifications. 

 

My bottom line is dont give up but do be realistic. You can get there but you may just need a bit of extra time to do so. Since the average age of most medical students is mid-20s, that's not the worst thing in the world. Good luck! 

Hey AM22476Thanks so much for your response. It was both optimistic and informative and exactly what I need right now, lol :D 

I think I'll invest in some more MCAT practice question banks...and yes, I will certainly look into those schools! I'm currently favoring the thesis-based Masters route and could spend the extra years adding more research/clinical ECs.

You think I should give an explanation? :o I'm feeling a bit nervous that an explanation could hurt me. I don't want to come off as trying to brush all those bad semesters off with an excuse, which was actually why I didn't explain them in my original post. On the flip side, speaking to the bad grades with an explanation could show that I am willing to acknowledge them and provide some insight...

To be completely honest, I don't mind living abroad! That being said, I don't know anything about life outside of Alberta or all of the debts I could land myself into :eek: 

 

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10 minutes ago, Chels1267 said:

Thesis based or not, MScs don't really boost your GPA. I pulled off a 4.0 in mine and my overall GPA didn't change at all. 

Agreed, MSc or PhD doesn't make up for subpar GPA and MCAT unless you publish in Nature, Cell, NEJM, JAMA... which is like winning a lottery. Even then if your marks don't make cut-offs you might not have a chance.

If you are alberta resident though, things might be better. Speaking from ONT which tends to be more cut throat. I don't know what IP req are in other provinces, seems a lot more lax

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10 hours ago, Chels1267 said:

Thesis based or not, MScs don't really boost your GPA. I pulled off a 4.0 in mine and my overall GPA didn't change at all. 

Thanks for both responses (+ @plastics91 )!

I believe that some universities count Master's GPA as 1 year's GPA...like U of C for example. There's also the possibility of getting an additional point or lower GPA cutoffs, depending on the university.

I think that the amount of courses completed during the MSc also affects whether its GPA is included in the cGPA (or the impact it has on cGPA), but I'm not 100% sure there.

 

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23 hours ago, needsomeguidance said:

Thanks for both responses (+ @plastics91 )!

I believe that some universities count Master's GPA as 1 year's GPA...like U of C for example. There's also the possibility of getting an additional point or lower GPA cutoffs, depending on the university.

I think that the amount of courses completed during the MSc also affects whether its GPA is included in the cGPA (or the impact it has on cGPA), but I'm not 100% sure there.

 

Correct, but keep in mind the number of courses you take during a MSc is minimal. That's precisely why it doesn't change your GPA much. 

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